RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
I saw a post that started out with a claim of a belt separation on a front tire of a 2007 Jeep Sport while it was being towed behind a Class A rig. [Click on any image to enlarge.]
Luckily the owner posted a picture that I felt was suspicious as to the cause of the belt separation. While the owner was going about getting the Jeep repaired and tires replaced, I messaged the owner and asked if they could provide better pictures. I advised full sunlight and straight-on shots showing just the tread.
Here are the two front tires after being removed from the Jeep.
If we take a closer look at the LF and note the Tearing and Wearing of the tread elements, we can confirm the tire was turned hard right while the Jeep was pulled forward by the tow bar. I have added a red arrow showing the direction the road surface moved across the face of the tire tread.
“Sipe” is the name for the small, thin parts of a tire tread pattern that leaves small narrow slots in the tread surface. This “lifting” occurs as the edges of the sipe slot are bent down into the empty space in the tread pattern.
The yellow box identifies the relatively smaller level of wear on the trailing edge of the tread.
The owners of the Jeep believe the steering wheel lock was not engaged, but so far inspections by auto mechanics have not been able to learn why the tires were being dragged straight ahead while they were turned hard right.
As can easily be seen, the result of being dragged put more load on the outer edge of the LF tire, which suffered the greatest level of damage. I would estimate that the tires were pulled for a good number of miles based on the severe damage to the tread. Before the vehicles were stopped, the tires did appear to straighten the steering and pull straight ahead for a number of miles as the tread surface does not display surface scrub marks I have observed on other tires that have been slid across the road surface.
Yes, there was a belt separation but it was caused not by any tire defect but by some mechanical failure of the vehicle steering system.
IMO the above is a reasonable example of a “Failed Tire” examination and analysis of the evidence that leads to a probable cause of the tire problem. Experience in tread wear pattern and anomalies is a definite plus in completing this examination.
Read more from Roger Marble on his blog at RVtiresafety.net.